Of course Elizabeth Warren needs to be on the Senate Banking Committee
On Tuesday Howie wrote a post called "Wall Street Kind of Lost -- But Not Really, Of Course." As he indicated, there's no reason to believe that, however the bodies may change, the soul of the economic team surrounding the president in his second term is going to be solidly in the bag for Wall Street and the banksters.
One early test of the seriousness of the Democratic alternative to the rule of the Oligarchy of the 1 Percent -- or perhaps the existence of a Democratic alternative to the rule of the Oligarchy of the 1 Percent -- is the decision by the Senate majority in the 113th Congress as to whether freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren gets a seat on the Banking Committee.
From a personal standpoint, let me say that when I belatedly started taking in then-known election results on Election Night, by thich time the networks had all called the presidential election for President Obama, and I was indeed relieved to know that Willard Inc. was not about to remake the Oval Office as the White House HQ of the first incorporated president, the names I was happiest to hear announced as declared winners were Warren and Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin. Let's throw in news of the reelection of OH Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Because it was quite easy enough to imagine an Obama reelection victory alongside Senate victories by MA Sen. Scott Brown and WI former Gov. Tommy Thomjpson -- and also whoever that creep was being so heavily bankrolled by the Right to oust OH's Senator Brown. In Senator-elect Warren's case, the result was made especially sweet by the very nature and intensity of her hardest-core opponents, the cabal of Bankster & Bankster Inc., which cratered the economy once and then quickly segued back to its traditional role of sucking all the life it can out of the economy.
Now Senator Warren needs a seat on the Banking Committee -- and Majority Leader Harry Reid, who's going to make the call, doesn't need me to tell him that this is precisely why Massachusetts voters, backed up by well-wishers across the country, have sent her back to DC as a U.S. senator. She should, of course, be running the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), since the thing was her idea, and no one understands better: (a) why it was needed, (b) what it has to do, and above all (c) what it has to overcome to do it.
But the Obama administration didn't have the nerve to fight the certain powerful opposition of Senate Republicans to a Warren nomination. For that matter, the Obama administration almost certainly didn't have the will to offer such a nomination. Not over the objections of Treasury Sec'y "Tiny Tim" Geithner, who knows only too well how well she knows how corporate-cravely he administered the TARP bailout. (It was in particular the selection of Tiny Tim's successor that Howie was focused on in his Tuesday post.) A number of Senate Dems weren't enthusiastic either -- not least outgoing Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, who emerged ever more embarrassingly, as he slithered his way out of the Senate, as a signed-and-sealed stooge of Bankster & Bankster.
Anyway, Senator Harry knows as well as anyone that Senator Warren belongs on the Banking Committee. And he could slot her into one of the vacancies created by the retirements of Sens. Daniel Akaka (HI) and Herb Kohl (WI). Or, knowing how badly Bankster & Bankster wants her not on the committee, he could keep her off Banking.
Business Insider's Linette Lopez reports today that "right now it looks like if she wants it, she can have it" ("Here's What's Happening In The Big Battle To Keep Elizabeth Warren Off The Senate Banking Committee"; lots o' links onsite).
Ultimately, the decision of who sits on what committee is left up to Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Majority leader. He takes into consideration things like seniority and Senators' talents, backgrounds and preferences. But in the end, the choice is his.
Now let's look at the committee. There are two seats opening up: Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Daniel Akaka (D-HI). New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has already said she's not taking one of them.
The other person being considered is Delaware Senator Chris Coons, and he isn't really talking about the situation.
So there's space. There's also pressure ... on Reid.
Rhode Island Senator and Banking Committee member Jack Reed is said to be supporting Warren for the seat.
And there's also this comment Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson made on Tuesday:
“I have a good working relationship with Elizabeth Warren and I would welcome her to the Committee if that’s what she wishes. Her expertise and knowledge would be an asset to the Committee as we continue working to protect consumers and maintain financial stability.”
Politicians aside, the Democratic constituency seems into giving Warren a seat on Banking as well. News site Daily Kos has a petition going to get Reid to put her on the committee. It has 80,872 signatures on it so far.
Politico's Ben White reported that Wall Street's lobbyists are on the case, trying to pressure Reid to put Warren on another committee (like Judiciary or Finance).
The question is, how much influence do they have over a man who, two years ago, made fun of the GOP for "making love to Wall Street"? (from CBS):
"They won't let us move on any amendments," he said, adding that "It's obvious that they do not want to put in decent restrictions" on the financial industry.Ultimately, if Warren wants the seat, it looks like Reid is absolutely in the position to give it to her.
Reid suggested the GOP is stalling because "they are having difficulty determining how they're going to continue making love to Wall Street" by opposing regulation.